We sat down with wedding celebrant Georgia May to get an inside look into the world of celebrancy, how she started and what she stands for.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
Well, I grew up on Auckland’s North Shore and am the youngest of four children which made for a super busy household full of love and support growing up. Our parents really encouraged us all to travel, so in my early twenties I took off overseas and spent three years exploring the world and having the time of my life! Fast forward to now and I’m back living in Auckland where I work for a record label as a publicist - it’s a lot of work but it’s such a fun industry to be a part of. What else? Well, I love being by the ocean, live music and record collecting. I’m very social so enjoy spending quality time with the people I love (which pretty much always includes good food and wine) and these days I’m just super stoked to be sinking my teeth into this celebrant business – it’s something I’ve wanted to do for so long!
What drives your passion for weddings?
I honestly have no idea where it all began! I guess I’ve just always been a bit of a hopeless romantic and I’m a real sucker for hearing other people’s love stories of how they met or how they got engaged. When you think about it, weddings are pretty incredible - not just because of the time and effort spent preparing for the day but for what it represents. It’s the only occasion that a couple would gather their nearest and dearest together on such a scale to publicly acknowledge the love they have for one another. Ultimately, it’s just a damn good day full of so much love and happiness. That’s what I love.
What led you on the path that you’re on now?
When you combine my love of love stories, creative writing and public speaking I think this was something I was always cut out for. But like a lot of people, I used to have a totally different view of the type of person a wedding celebrant had to be. In my head it was always someone a lot older and way more traditional. But when I went to my brother's wedding in Aussie a few years ago, their celebrant was this young, edgy dude who used to be in a band, owned a record store, and was covered in tatts. He injected something so modern, fun and fresh into the ceremony and completely flipped my perception of what a celebrant had to be on its head. That wa
s probably the moment where I was like “wait, so I CAN do this” and I realised there was still room to fill a gap in the NZ market. And here we are!
In your eyes what makes a good celebrant?
Go with your gut. Sometimes it helps to meet with a few celebrants before you choose ‘the one’. We play a big role in your day so it’s important to find someone that you and your partner really gel with and who shares the same values and vision. Establishing that connection is important for the celebrant as well – I love the idea that every ceremony is super personalised and bespoke so the more I vibe with a couple and the better I know them, the better that ceremony will be. Think of a celebrant as a professional third wheel, there to help make the journey towards ‘I do’ an enjoyable one, alleviate any stress and ensure everything runs smoothly on the day.
Talk us through your celebrancy process - what goes on behind the scenes?
If the couple is based in Auckland, I like to have that initial meeting in person – usually over a coffee or even a wine. If not, skype or facetime does the trick too! Basically, I just like to use it as a chance to get to know one another, hear your story and any ideas for the big day. Beyond that first meeting, we’d probably catch up again to discuss ceremony ideas in a little more detail and I’ll help guide you through the vow writing process, reading suggestions, and so much more. The more questions we ask one another, the better! Of course, I write the script and can make as many tweaks as needed until you are comfortable with it and feel it reflects you as a couple. While a rehearsal (usually within a week of the wedding) is totally optional, it tends to be a good way to iron out any kinks and leave you and the crew feeling cool, calm and collected for the big day. After the ceremony, I’ll look after all the legal formalities and leave you two lovebirds to enjoy the beginning of your journey as newlyweds!
One piece of advice for couples looking to get married?
Focus on yourselves. Often, other people try to add their two cents and input their ideas and beliefs into your day. Don’t get me wrong, if you’ve asked for their input and it aligns with your vision then that’s fantastic! But don’t feel bad for staying true to what you and your partner want without folding under the pressure of others. It’s an opportunity to create your own version of ‘perfect’ and that’s pretty special. Oh! Bonus tip: On the day, it’s inevitable that you will both be dragged in all different directions by guests etc but try find a moment to step back, watch the party, and really take it all in together. Bet you won’t be able to wipe the smiles off your faces!